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This Week at Café

June 18th, 2006
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Program Highlights!
From the outset, you're in for a treat with Steve Oliver and Vince Mai. There's an incredible track from the new Ultrablue, undoubtedly one of the finest to this point in the year as well as a Gregg Karukas classic! We've also included a huge hit from Nick Colionne as inducement to check out Then & Now on After Hours, Nick is featured in that spot. On the air or on line, experience Café Jazz for the absolute best in smooth jazz!

New Affiliate: KCCK Cedar Rapids, Iowa!
Yo listen up! Our second new affiliate in as many months! KCCK 88.3 FM, Cedar Rapids has just added Café Jazz to their weekend program schedule! Relax and get energized as the hippest show on radio takes to the air on Iowa's only full-time jazz radio station, beginning in June, Saturdays at 5 AM. Café Jazz remains the only program that's so good you'll want to wake up early just to enjoy it!

In This Issue:

Elixir - Pamela Williams

Look What's Happened - Shilts
House Call - Nestor Torres
What Does It Take - Peter White
Easy Does It - Oli Silk
In The Grove - Gumbi Ortiz

Then & Now - Nick Colionne
SPINLIST: Spinlist

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Showcase CD
Elixir - Pamela Williams:
Although she has just recently relocated to Atlanta, Pamela Williams had resided in California since the late 80s. Nonetheless, Pam's youth growing up in Philadelphia was primarily responsible for moulding her musical identity. One of her earliest influences was Grover Washington. Although she embraced both contemporary and traditional forms of jazz while in high school it was Grover's cutting-edge blend of jazz and R&B that first instilled Williams with an interest in that style of playing. She moved to LA in 1989, and prior to launching her career as a solo performer, Pam was featured with both Patti Labelle and Teena Marie. A multi-talented artist who plays flute as well as a little piano, Williams made an impressive debut in 1996 with The Saxtress. On subsequent releases Williams has continued to refine her stylish blend of Latin, jazz, R&B, hip-hop, and house, to the extent that her name belongs among the very best in the genre.
Elixir, Pam's sixth and latest cd, is another masterpiece. The new project once again matches Williams' talents with those of saxman David Mann. This marks the third occasion the two have collaborated thus continuing the strong tradition established on The Perfect Love, Pam's Shanachie Records debut and continued on Sweet Saxations. While Mann contributes some amazing textures on keys and produces three selections, Pam's own flair for casting musical spells is what makes this album a winner. As evidence, we offer a trio of tracks that represent some of the project's finest moments and I know you're gonna love'em all.
Photo: Courtesy of

An uplifting original entitled Rise launches the feature. Give Me What You Got, Pam's awesome cover of the Al Jarreau classic from 1980, kicks-off hour 2. Meanwhile it's Rejuvination, an immediate all-time favourite, that's been reserved for the program finale. The latter track is another original composition while all three feature Pam's exclusive instrumentation. In addition, Williams produced the tracks, as she continues to develop that aspect of her musicality. Nevertheless, Pam's sax work best demonstrates the scope of her genius. Subtle, sensual, & sophisticated, this latest album rather convincingly confirms a long-held belief. Say what you will, above all else Ms Williams is indeed the first lady of sax!

CD: Elixir (2006)
Label: Shanachie Entertainment Corp.
Site: Pamela Williams

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Fresh Trax: Part One
Look What's Happened - Shilts:
Paul Weimar earned his unusual nickname because of a vigorous display following a poor goal in an English soccer match allowed by a goaltender named Shilts. Subsequently, whenever he played, Weimar would respond to shouts of "Shilts" in a rather animated fashion. Making a name on the British soul funk scene first with Brand New Heavies, Weimar was later recruited by Stuart Wade for Down To The Bone. As Shilts, he's recorded and toured as the group's front man for the past several years. Back in 2001, Weimar issued a solo debut called See What Happens, which earned him a nomination as best new smooth jazz artist for the year. Now after a somewhat lengthy absence, he's just released Head Boppin'. From that effort, we have Look What's Happened the suitably titled lead single !

CD: HeadBoppin (2006)
Label: ARTizen Music
Site: Shilts
House Call - Nestor Torres:
The Miami based flautist has been a perennial favourite in smooth jazz since he released his debut in 1990. In spite of a severe boating accident in which his lungs were crushed, Torres found strength to resume playing thru the practice of Buddhism. With a catalogue that is on the verge of reaching double figures, Dances Prayers and Meditations for Peace is his latest and from that effort we have a fabulous uptempo piece called House Call !

CD: Dances, Prayers & Meditations For Peace (2006)
Label: Heads Up International
Site: Nestor Torres

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Fresh Trax: Part Two
What Does It Take (To Win Your Love) - Peter White:
Following the success of his Reflections cd now well over 12 years ago, White happened across some of the out takes from that project and discovered almost a complete album's worth of material. Whipping back into the studio, Peter finished recordings Playin' Favourites, covers of some his personal favourite tracks. With a release date that is imminent, we have Peter's cover of the old Junior Walker hit from 1969, and the advance single !

CD: Playin' Favorites (2006)
Label: Columbia
Site: Peter White

Easy Does It - Oli Silk:
Over the past 10 years or so, keyboardist Oliver Silk has been laying the groundwork for what promises to be an auspicious release. Silk first came to our attention here on this side of the water as one-half of Sugar & Silk, a creative duo in which he shared star billing with bassist and long time friend Danny Sugar; they issued a pair of releases in the UK. Silk's name next surfaced in 2004, this time on the debut from sax man James Vargas; Silk was the album's producer, shared in the writing credits, and appeared on all the tracks. This now sets the stage for Oli's own solo debut on which serves up a lush and simmering brew that is nothing less than quintessential smooth jazz !

CD: So Many Ways (2006)
Label: trippin 'N' Rhythm Records
Site: Oli Silk
In The Grove - Gumbi Ortiz:
For the past 19 years, Gumbi Ortiz (pronounced Goombi) has been the percussionist with renowned fusion guitar great Al Di Meola. Now for his solo debut, the former New Yorker has gathered an impressive cast of players in fashioning a tribute to his adopted home state of Florida. Ortiz, who spoke no English until grammar school, took up the sax in honor of his sax playing father, but felt more at home on percussion instruments, which he has played since he was eight. Hearing Santana's debut album opened Ortiz's mind to the possibilities of blending Latin and pop music.

Although he's helped guide several projects, Miami marks Ortiz's first release under his own name. Appearing in support of the charismatic conguero are Jeff Lorber, Di Meola, and Eric Marienthal among others as Ortiz dishes a refreshing multi-cultural blend that mixes Latin, Cuban and Caribbean music. From that release we have In The Groove highlighted by the sax work of Jay Beckenstein ! BTW, Miami gets our early nod for the best album cover for the year !

CD: Miami (2006)
Label: KWIP Music
Site: Gumbi Ortiz

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After Hours ~ Exclusive to our Web Site :
On this edition, we have music past and present as Nick Colionne enters the Then & Now spotlight. We've taken a track from each of Nick's five solo releases and that's coming up about 25 minutes or so into the segment. In the meantime, we're delving more deeply into recent releases from Chris Standring, Marion Meadows, Ultrablue, Steve Briody, Nelson Rangell, Gumbi Ortiz (also featured on the Fresh Trax segment), as well as Jack Prybylski. There's more from Everette Harp and David Boswell and we've definitely done our homework with something new from Bobby Caldwell and David Stellmach making his debut. These are all part of 11-brand-new-and-never-before-been-played-on-our-show tracks - only on After Hours where less talk and more music is the rule!
Then & Now Spotlight Feature: Nick Colionne

It's My Turn
Lake Shore Jazz 1994
Lake Shore Jazz 1996
The Seduction
Chicago Lakeside Jazz
Just Come On In
Three Keys Music
Keepin' It Cool
Narada Jazz
Nick Colionne: From a teen who would paint on a moustache to look older when he played, to an artist who is currently riding the crest of his popularity, it's now Nick Colionne's turn to reap the rewards of many years of devotion to his craft. Music was an integral component in Colionne's up bringing; indeed, the entire family took the matter quite seriously. The Chicago native grew up surrounded by jazz, initially learning guitar under the tutelage of his stepfather. However, his mother and stepfather often would disagree as to whom Nick should emulate as a guitarist, Kenny Burrell or Wes Montgomery. Nevertheless, Nick was already playing professionally by age fifteen. For a time he played rock and R&B, moving up through the ranks so to speak as he enjoyed stints with the Impressions and Natalie Cole.

Photo: Courtesy of
In the course of events, Colionne returned to jazz, and eventually went solo. His released a well-received debut in '94 which promised "It's My Turn" and then announced "Arrival" with his '96 follow up. However, in spite of a small but avid following, those albums failed to break on a broad scale; Colionne would have to wait a couple of more albums and a few more years to live up to the prophecy of those releases. There was a five-year gap between '99's The Seduction and the invitingly titled Just Come On In released in 2004 and for a time Nick thought he might be relegated to playing sideman gigs.

That all changed with his 4th release. The album not only cracked the charts, it also spawned one of the major hits for the year with High Flyin'. In that regard, I'm very pleased to say, we here at Café Jazz, always big fans of Colionne and his music, were among the first to jump on that in a big way so hopefully we played a small part in its great success. In any event, with that project still fresh in everyone's mind, Colionne released Keepin' It Cool just earlier this past year. On the new cd, Nick does indeed keep it cool, as on many of the trax, he's never sounded better. So, now with a catalogue of five releases to his credit, it's our distinct pleasure to trace some of the musical highlights in the career of Nick Colionne!

Naturally, we begin with Nick's 1994 debut and from it, East Evergreen the album's opening track. Brazilian Dreams, Steppin' Out, and From The Wes Side follow in order, the latter track a tune dedicated to one of Colionne's musical heroes. Finally, we have Can You Feel It, a selection that we played a few weeks back as part of our showcase feature on Keepin' It Cool. You're cordially invited to join us for the entire set and when you do, I'm confident, you'll not only love the sounds of Nick Colionne, you'll "feel it" too!

Site: Nick Colionne

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